Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada – How to get a team of ice hockey players’ head in the game? It starts in the locker room, according to Spectacle Bureau for Architecture and Urbanism, a Calgary-based design studio who created a typology-busting space for Alberta’s Medicine Hat Tigers.
‘Rather than create a space that is the representation of performance and success, we decided to focus instead on creating atmospheres that support player rituals before, during and after each game,’ said architect Jessie Andjelic. ‘Two highly contrasting spaces create a place for preparation and purification. Just as in sports, there is only in or out, black or white.’
Being an athlete involves as much mental preparation as it does physical training
The 1100-sq-m layout is divided by three main functional spaces: the dressing room, washroom and a corridor leading out into the stadium. Instilling a sense of focus and solidarity in the locker room was essential to doing the retrofitting project right. To do so, Spectacle’s team removed all the usual aesthetic suspects of conventional athletic spaces – bold colours, logos, grainy photographs and the like – and proceeded with simplicity in mind. In the dressing rooms, they replaced individually separated stalls with a birch wood lattice grid that acts to unify each.
‘Although sports are inherently dynamic, why not create athlete preparation spaces that strip away distractions?’ asked Andjelic. ‘Being an athlete involves as much mental preparation as it does physical training.’